The History of Bremerton Foodline
Bremerton Foodline was organized by a coalition of churches, social service agencies and individuals, the Foodline has been a source of emergency food and assistance referrals since 1980. Under the direction of dedicated Board of Directors members, staff, and volunteers, the Foodline has grown from an all-volunteer food bank operating from a church basement into an organization with four part-time staff employees and a large volunteer team in our own facility.
The Foodline is currently meeting the need for emergency food for an expanding number of clients in Bremerton. In 2010, we served 17,280 households with a total of 47,280 individuals. We also provided 1,083 Summer Kids bags of supplemental food, provided 232 kids with school supplies, and provided 75 to 100 food bags for distribution by street ministries.
Our volunteer base has included persons from the general community who believe in our mission, the Community Jobs Program and community service. In 2010 20475 hours were volunteered at the Foodline to help distribute a total of 719,986 pounds of food.
The biggest change from the food bank of 1980 housed in a basement to our operation today was the acquisition of our facility in 2001. That purchase realized our dream of warehouse and delivery space with a much larger client service area and has enabled partnerships with other food banks and agencies in our community and state. The challenges of facility ownership have been met through a combination of grant funds for rehabilitation and seismic improvements for the facility, as well as countless hours of volunteer labor and materials donations.
In 2001, our new warehouse facility allowed the Foodline to become a USDA Commodities distributor and delivery drop point. Our involvement with the Kitsap County Foodbank Coalition led to the shared purchase of loading equipment, essential to moving and storing large shipments. What began as sparsely equipped food storage warehouse early in 2001 is now a bustling, packed warehouse area serving both our clients and other food banks in the Kitsap County Foodbank Coalition as well as assistance agencies throughout Kitsap and North Mason counties.
We just completed our 2010 capitol project, with the help of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, installing a new natural gas operated electric generator that will allow operation of the facility, including the large refrigeration units and freezers in the event of an electrical power outage. We are proud to partner with other emergency planning efforts to support food access in the event of a disaster.
The Foodline continues to form working partnerships with other social service organizations in our community including United Way, Bremerton Urban Garden Society (Bugs), CDBG, Kitsap Community Resources, Second Harvest, and Food Lifeline. We routinely refer our clients to other community services to fill their non-food needs and encourage the distribution of informational materials in our client service area.
A big thanks to Patti Peterson, BFL Executive Director for her help in putting this together.